A Watch Fit for a French President

For those of you longing for an affordable watch driven by a Swiss hand winding movement under a grand (Aussie dollars), I’ve got you covered. This article came out of my love for this specific brand and from a conversation I had with a young University student looking for a watch that best demonstrated value. The first two brands that popped up in my mind were Seiko and Merci Paris. So who exactly are Merci Paris? One quick search on their site and you would learn that the original founders were Bernard and Marie-France Cohen, who were also founders of a children’s fashion label called BONPOINT. The goal of Merci was to create a hub for new designers to launch their products within a space already with an extensive client base. However, one of the reasons why I adore this brand so much is their connection to education (I am a teacher after all). The proceeds according to sources, helps to provide funds to schools in Madagascar. After conducting further research, I learnt that since 2013, they currently have a new CEO, Arthur Gerbi, who runs the show while maintaining the vision of the original founders. And from the sounds of things, Mr Gerbi is also an avid collector and plans to stay in the watch making business for the long haul.

The Watches

The watches all come in a standard brushed steel case which are obviously inspired by military watches from World War II. But unlike the smaller cases of that era, these are sized at 37.5 mm for the modern wearer with a water resistance rating of 50 metres. Apart from the gorgeous dials and “built like a tank” cases, a nice touch that I love is that these all come with drilled lugs. And if you change your straps like you change your underwear (daily I hope), then these make life a whole lot easier. I should probably point out that the LMM-01 watches come with 19 mm spring bars equipped with a quick release mechanism. It does mean that you would need to purchase straps from their store. However, if that isn’t your thing, you can always order standard 19 mm spring bars online.

The first watch featured here is the original LMM-01 equipped with the ETA 2801-2 hand winding movement. The mechanical version is currently priced at 399 € while the quartz version is priced at 250 €.

The following pieces below were released last year in 2018 titled as the Projet Spécial Collection and each are currently offered at 250 €. Merci states that they take the design elements from the watches that your grandfather would own if you were to open his watch drawers. There are several options to choose from which include the Field Watch, Grand Pa and Railroad. The following two were my choices and I absolutely love them. The first photograph is of the Grand Pa and the last one is of the Field Watch with black dial.

These offerings are highly affordable for someone looking for a piece that is different and robust. Yes, there are brands out there offering the same designs who may be a bit more established however, do not forget that Merci are offering the LMM-01 series for a fraction of their prices. Not to mention, that the proceeds go towards developing educational projects. And if that isn’t enough, French President Emmanuel Macron was seen on multiple occasions rocking the original white coloured version of the LMM-01!

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